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December 13, 2000


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The Jackson County Greenspace Steering Committee seeks input that would better prepare the Committee for developing the Jackson County Greenspace Plan. Please take a moment to answer four questions and return them on the form provided here.


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SPORTS
Tigers win state crown
The thunderstorms predicted by the National Weather Service did not arrive in time to disrupt the Class A State Championship football game Friday night. But lightning named Monté Williams struck four times, electrified a standing-room-only crowd and propelled the Commerce Tigers to a 27-19 victory over the Buford Wolves.


Neighborhood News...
MADISON COUNTY
Budget on hold amid commissioners' conflict
Approval of the 2001 budget was put on hold Monday amid the conflict over the payment of commissioners' legal expenses.
The board voted 3-2 to deny the budget proposed by chairman Wesley Nash. BOC members Nelson Nash, Patsy Pierce and Melvin Drake voted against the proposal, while Bill Taylor and Bruce Scogin voted to approve the budget.

16th annual luminarias and live nativity planned
The 16th annual Booger Hill/Moon's Grove Luminarias and Live Nativity is planned for Saturday, Dec. 16, from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m.




News from
BANKS COUNTY
BOC agrees on tentative SPLOST allocations
The Banks County Board of Commissioners is one step closer to finalizing the proposed Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) allocations.

Maysville bust nets $62,000 in drugs and cash and four arrests
A weekend drug bust in Maysville resulted in the recovery of $43,000 in drugs and over $19,000 in cash and four arrests


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READY FOR CHRISTMAS


These youngsters are ready for Christmas with their reindeer outfits. The three were part of the annual Jefferson Elementary School's kindergarten program held Tuesday night. Shown are Cal Garner, J.T. Hoopaugh and Mikie Dills.



Schools may get July start next year
Jackson County's three school systems are mulling a plan that would have students begin school in July next year. Although the three systems have been comparing notes on the idea for weeks, it surfaced publicly for the first time Thursday night with the Jackson County Board of Education.
Under the plan, students would go back to school July 27. A major break would take place the first two weeks in October and again in late December and early January. A third break would occur in April and summer vacation would begin June 1.
For students needing remedial help, the plan would have them attending school extra days during the break periods.
Jackson County School Superintendent Andy Byers called the idea a "bold move."
"I certainly think it has a lot of advantages when you start looking at the opportunities for instruction and the opportunities to give students a break during the year," he said. "I think it gives us an opportunity to provide some remediation and give kids a chance to catch up before they get so far behind at the end of the year."
Byers also acknowledged that the plan does have some pitfalls.
"There will be people who won't like it," he said. "It will interfere with some folks' vacation plans."
No action on the plan was taken by the Jackson County BOE Thursday, but some resolution is expected by the end of February. The Jefferson and Commerce City School Systems have not yet officially discussed the matter at their board meetings.


Season for shoplifting arrives
While shoplifting is a common occurrence at the Banks Crossing area of Jackson County, the holiday season brings even more occurrences.
Seven people were cited last week by the Jackson County Sheriff's Department on shoplifting incidents at two retail stores. Three other stores reported shoplifters with no one being charged yet.
"Usually, during the holiday season, our shoplifting cases increase over there," said Jackson County Sheriff's Department chief investigator David Cochran. "It seems that we are making numerous arrests over there too. A report of shoplifting is an everyday occurrence over there and it keeps us pretty busy. It seems that during the holiday season, it increases even more."
Five Wisconsin people were charged with shoplifting at Nike at Tanger Factory Outlet Mall on Friday. They are: Griselda Angeles Caledron, Raul Tello Carbajal and Adriana Mejia Olmos, all of 160 Mineral Street, Milwaukee, Wis.; Jose Luis Lara Millan; and Luis Alberto Reyes Rojano.
They are charged with allegedly taking $1,274 worth of clothing, all of which was recovered.
In another incident, two women were charged with shoplifting at Vanity Fair at Tanger Factory Outlet on Saturday. They are: Patricia Lynn Buell, 143 Flat Street, Baldwin, and Cherrie Murise Pulido, 163 Sunset Strip Lane, Demorest. The $156 worth of clothing reportedly shoplifted was recovered.


Jackson County gets greenspace grant of $139,450
Jackson County has received a $139,450 state grant for its greenspace program.
The Georgia Greenspace Commission approved six grants under Gov. Roy Barnes' new Georgia Greenspace Program. The money will be used by local governments to acquire and permanently protect greenspace.
The grant award is based on the county's tax digests for residential property. Other counties to receive grants were: Chatham County, $1.1 million; Clayton County, $625,081; the City of Forest Park, $58,418; Effingham County, $144,212; and Forsyth County, $903,315.
To qualify for funding, a county or city must commit to preserve at least 20 percent of its geographic areas as open and connected greenspace, which can be used for recreational activities and protection of natural resources.
Greenspace consists of permanently protected land and water that protects water quality, scenic areas, wildlife habitat, historic resources or recreation opportunities.


City Cuts Tax Rate By 2 Mills
Commerce will lower its tax rate by two mills this year and will take in $31,000 less than last year in property taxes, but some citizens may not get to claim their 2000 taxes as deductions on their 2000 income tax returns.
The city council voted to establish a preliminary tax rate of 15.34 mills at its December meeting Monday night. That's down from 17.36 mills last year.
At the same time, the council voted to increase the freeport exemption for industry from the 20 percent level to 100 percent. That provision exempts certain unfinished goods and goods in transit from ad valorem taxes.
The city was able to implement freeport and reduce the tax rate because its tax digest grew by 23 percent, city manager Clarence Bryant explained.
"Fifteen of the $23 million in growth came from the re-evaluations," he said. The city tax digest grew from $101.6 million to $124.6 million.
Those re-evaluations caused another problem that drew more discussion than the whole setting of the tax rate.

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New deputy warden charged
The new deputy warden at the Jackson County Correctional Institute has been charged with theft by taking.
William Francis Cummings Sr., 357 Red Oak Road, Maysville, was also charged with violation of oath of office by a public official.
Jackson County Board of Commissioners chairman Jerry Waddell said Tuesday that the charges stem from food being taken from the prison over the weekend. Cummings, who owns a restaurant, reportedly said he was borrowing the food and would replace it.
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation is assisting in the investigation of this incident.


New Hoschton school gets name
The new 3-5 elementary school being built in Hoschton was named West Jackson Intermediate School Monday night by the Jackson County Board of Education. The current Jackson County Elementary School in Braselton will be renamed West Jackson Primary School and will house grades K-2.
Also approved by the board was the move of JCES principal Linda McMullan to become principal of the new WJIS. Her assistant principal, Lynne Wheeler, was also transferred to serve at the new school. It is expected to open next fall.
No principal or assistant principal for the primary school has yet been named.
Construction of the new school is expected to be completed by February, 2001, and equipment and other items will begin to be moved in, according to superintendent Andy Byers.


Maxwell Again A No-Show At Nicholson Meeting
For the second week in a row, the Nicholson City Council was unable to hold a meeting because of a lack of a quorum.
Council members Thomas Gary and Margaret Ward were at a called meeting Monday evening. However, newly elected mayor Ronnie Maxwell did not attend, which kept the council from having a quorum and from conducting business.
Gary said the meeting was called to conduct city business that was not addressed at last week's meeting, when Maxwell walked out after being sworn in as mayor.
Gary said the council would try to reschedule the meeting.
On Tuesday, Maxwell explained his absence.
He said the agenda spelled out three items of business ­ repairing a city truck, electing a mayor pro tem and adding his name to the city checking account ­ but also contained non-specific items ­ "old business" and "new business."
"They can't do that," he said. "They have to be specific."
Maxwell and Gary and Ward are at odds over zoning, and Maxwell figured the two would try to pass a zoning ordinance at the called meeting.
He also complained that while Ward and Gary consulted with each other over a meeting time, he was not asked if it was convenient with him.
"I was in and out of City Hall all day Friday, but Dana (Wilbanks, city clerk) didn't mention it until she was closing at 5:00 to go home," Maxwell said. "I don't feel like they should treat my office like that."
The others in city government knew in advance that Maxwell would not attend the meeting.